Aztec Genesis (2000)
3/3/3/2sax/2 4/3/3/1 4perc pno strings. 25-30 mins.
This colourful five-movement piece was inspired by the creation myths of the Aztec civilisation of Mexico. It was written during the millennium year for and first performed by the Colchester Institute Symphony Orchestra, conductor Christopher Phelps, at St Botolph’s Church, Colchester on 6 April 2001.
‘Skilful use of the orchestra produced some very dramatic effects’ Essex County Standard
Score and parts on hire from the composer
Alan Bullard: Aztec Genesis, for symphony orchestra
1. Tezcatlipoca – the Sun Giant
2. Quetzacoatl – the Sky God
3. Tlaloc – the Rain God
4. Chalchihuitlicue – the Water Goddess
5. Tonatiuh – the Sun God
I wrote Aztec Genesis during the millennium year, 2000, for Christopher Phelps and the Colchester Institute Symphony Orchestra. Thoughts of our own past, traditions and beliefs led me to think of the traditions of other peoples, and in particular the creation myths of the Aztec people of Mexico. The Aztec civilisation goes back many thousands of years, and although much was destroyed by the Spanish conquerors of the 16″ century, some wonderful works of art and literature remain.
The five movements owe their origin to the Aztec belief that the world was created five times and destroyed four times – we are now living in the fifth and last era. Each era was named after a god and a force of nature:
1st Era (Jaguar) – the reign of Tezcatlipoca, the Sun Giant, which ends when jaguars eat everything else and take over the earth.
2nd Era (Wind) – the reign of Quetzacoatl, the Sky God, which ends when hurricanes destroy the world and men are turned into monkeys.
3rd Era (Rain) – the reign of Tlaloc, the God of Rain and Growth, which ends when fiery rain destroys the world and men are turned into turkeys.
4th Era (Water) – the reign of Chalchihuitlicue, the Water Goddess, which ends when floods destroy the world and men are turned into fish.
5th Era (Earthquake) – the reign of Tonatiuh, the Sun God, which will end when earthquakes destroy the world.
Musically, the material is based on the motif A-E-F-E-C, which is derived from the letters AZTEC.
3 flutes (3 doubling piccolo), 3 oboes, 3 clarinets in B flat, 1 alto saxophone, 1 tenor saxophone, 2 bassoons
4 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, 1 bass trombone, 1 tuba
Percussion 1 (Cymbal, Suspended cymbal, Triangle, Whip, Side Drum)
Percussion 2 (Gong, 3 Tom-toms, Bell tree, Tenor Drum)
Percussion 3 (Glockenspiel, Xylophone)